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David Henry, CEO of Kimco, describes the Marketplace Fairness Act Written to Help Brick & Mortar Retail

Fresh from victory in the United States Senate, David Henry gives a short but direct description of the Marketplace Fairness Act at ICSC’s RECON 2013. For 15 years now ICSC has been attempting to obtain a balance between internet and brick & mortar retailers.

Nearly 10% of the US population is employed by companies related to the shopping center industry. Even so, internet retailers currently have a huge advantage over brick and mortar retailers by not being required to charge sales tax to out of state customers.

This interview took place in late May 2013. As of this writing in early September 2013, although the Senate has passed the bill, the House has still not voted on it.

This is the first in a series of videos on this topic. In shows to come we will discuss whether the Marketplace Fairness Act is a tax or not; and what hurdles internet retailers will have to face if the bill becomes law.

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  • Chase Pursley

    I wrote about his a while back. It’s not about fairness or an equal playing field, it’s about desperate states grasping around for more tax revenues and retailers with failed business models unable to adapt.

    “Marketplace Fairness Act = Retail Protectionism / Cry-Babyness”


  • hfklaw

    Chase: Great comments and an entirely understandable perspective. Even with adoption of the Marketplace Fairness Act, (“MFA”), retailers must adopt to new business models and imperatives or they will likely fail. MFA will not save them. Most, “enlightened” brick & mortar retailers are scrambling to figure out how to make it all work together. Some have figured it out while most have not.

    Personally, I do not like using the word “fair” in the same sentence as legislation. It is such a moving target, depending upon your perspective that, while it is intended to appeal to emotions, it can can be as easily rejected as unfair to one group as it might be accepted as fair to another group. It seems almost disingenuous when used in the context of this legislation. To the average consumer who purchases online, it may seem unfair to to pass legislation that, from a practical perspective, will take more money out of the consumers pocket, whether you call it a tax or otherwise. I know that it is not a new tax, but that won’t make me feel any better when I order a camera online from New York from an online retailer that does not have a physical presence in California and I am forced to pay the Use Tax that I would otherwise be required to pay if it were not for the fact that I would have inadvertently forgotten to pay if MFA is not passed.

    Your argument would make sense to me if it were not for the fact that I feel, as things are, this legislation will provide more good than harm to our society. I get the sense, if left unfettered, over the long term, the advantage to online retailers, will so cripple brick & mortar that only the largest, best financed brick & mortar retailers will survive or those brick & mortar that can’t be replaced by online sales. Small businesses will suffer the most and there will be an increasing erosion of the middle class, all of which I see as a bad thing. I think that it is socially responsible to support this legislation, even if it might take more money out of my pocket in the short run.